Monday, January 31, 2011

Return from PALM SPRINGS Heather Ross Workshop

Finished Bag

I woke up this morning to a light freezing drizzle and temperatures in the teens.  Sigh.  Oh well, we'll always have Palm Springs!  So.....
Palm Springs Fabric Art
I just returned from the AMAZING Heather Ross Workshop weekend in Palm Springs, CA.  It was such a sensory overload for me; let's see, leaving the snowy Rockies for a respite in the desert, CHECK, leaving the insane stress of my job for 3 days, CHECK, meeting, socializing with, learning from and basking in the greatness and creativity of not just one, or two, but THREE wonder women (Heather Ross, Lotta Jansdotter and Gretchen aka Gertie from Blog for Better Sewing, CHECK.  We also had Melanie Falick from STC Crafts/Melanie Falick Books, publisher of many many many amazing and beautiful craft books INCLUDING Heather's Weekend Sewing, Gretchen's first book, coming out soon, Liesl Gibson's Oliver + S book releasing in a month, etc., etc.

Private Workshop
But not only that, every single participant in the workshop was a joy to meet and in a short 48 hours we were like a happy little sewing family.  OK, maybe that's going too far.  BUT it's very rare to be in room with 20 or so people who all have the same passion, while looking at a hipster pool, palm trees and J.Crew photo shoots, which for me was part of the passion.

On to the nitty gritty of the weekend....
Ace Hotel Private Garden Wall
We arrived Friday night and Heather hosted a lovely cocktail party in her private garden suite.  The Ace Hotel has different room types and the suites with the private gardens, well let's just say I did the math in my head to see if I could live there for a few months.  I just love the desert, the light and color and simplicity and beauty.  Anyway, it was dark so enough about the desert light.  We also had a yummy dinner at a long table in the garden; soft shell make-it-yourself tacos, got to know each other and then went back to our rooms to sink into the funky low beds with lots of white cotton sheets and down blanket and drift into a restorative sleep.  BUT NO, it was not to be.

 Ace Hotel
There was an all night party in our wing of the hotel and the party-goers were finally evicted but it was too late, about 6 of us got NO sleep at all.  However, the Ace Hotel manager was a love and comped a hot stone massage for me to make it up.

Ace Hotel Suite
Saturday morning I wandered early to the King's Highway diner off the lobby and ordered a latte.  I had met Lotta Jansdotter the night before and there she was having coffee too so we sat and chatted.  I have to say this now, I had a latte with Lotta.  OK, done.  She is the sweetest, kindest soul and asked about ME, in fact I think I just blabbed about my life too much.  She shared her breakfast with me as well, especially when I told her that we were having breakfast served in the sewing room. hee hee  The latte's were to die for, as well.  I really like Lotta as a person, and admire her tremendously as an artist.

Lotta Jansdotter Workshop
Saturday morning was divided into two groups; Lotta's fabric printing workshop and the sewing workshop with Heather and Gretchen.  LOVED the fabric printing and when we were done with that, I used my printed linens to sew into a bag and a table runner.
Lotta and Me
Most every other person in the group has a fancy schmancy clothing item to work on.  Next time I will probably bring one, I just didn't know how much time we had but there was plenty of time for sewing more than what I did.

Prints Drying on the wall
During the sewing sessions, Heather and Gretchen ran around and helped every single person with their project which started with sewing a muslin, which is a practice item that you make first to make sure the pattern fits and adjust it before you cut your good fabric, oh and I have to say, there was a lot of Liberty fabric running around our weekend, gorgeous and I left mine at home, silly me.

Both Heather and Gretchen worked so incredibly hard to make sure we were all having a great time and learning what we came for and ran around non-stop during the sewing sessions to help everyone.  I can't say enough about them.  And Heather, just a wonderful person all-around.  She has many reasons to be snotty and above-it-all but is SO NOT THAT AT ALL, not that I expected that but I think she was even more down-to-earth and personable and generous than I imagined.  AND she's expecting!    
Heather Ross
We were all women, including Butter the dog who was the sweetest little mascot for our sewing and sat on a different Butter quilt every day.  Butter's person, Jean, is a veterinarian and brought an amazing collection of quilts with her.

Saturday night was another amazing dinner, this time on the patio by the pool where it was downright chilly BUT we had heaters all over the place (and drinks) so it was cozy and warm.  Saturday night was silent and I slept like a baby.

Gretchen and Michelle
Sunday was kind of a downer, knowing it was our last day but there was plenty of sewing and finishing up this and that, getting last minute fittings from Gretchen and advise and autographs and photos from all of them. 

Lotta, Adrianne, Heather
I want to give a HUGE BIG FAT HUG and THANK YOU to all the people who organized this weekend:  Heather, Gretchen, Lotta and VERA,
Vera Extraordinaire
another wonderful self-less hard-working individual on the trip. She did all the behind-the-scenes work and Saturday was her birthday which means she was working really really hard on her day.  Anyway, I know, I didn't receive an Academy so I'll stop now.
Mary and Mary
Did I mention that it's drizzling ice in Denver?  And tomorrow the low is expected to -13, yes NEGATIVE 13.

But we'll always have Palm Springs....
Hazy Sky over Palm Springs


  1. Wow, what a wonderful recap of your weekend, it sounds amazing!
    How lovely to have coffee with Lotta, lucky you!
    I wish I could have gone to both weekends.

  2. HA! Hi Jane! (Jane and I were both in the first weekend workshop) I too wish that I could have done both weekends and I've been so curious about how this one went. Thanks for the recap. I'm still daydreaming about our weekend and I'm sure you will be to for a while :)

  3. Sounds awesome! Would love to do it sometime. Glad that you had such a wonderful time. :O)

  4. Great photos!! It was so fun meeting you and being Lotta fan girls together! Your projects are beautiful and so inspiring!